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Following the US’s bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the scenes of chaos at Kabul Airport, we could be forgiven for thinking we’re experiencing an ‘end of empire’ moment, that the US is entering a new, less belligerent era in its foreign policy, and that its tenure as self-appointed ‘global policeman’ is coming to an end.

Before we get our hopes up though, it’s wise to remember exactly what this policeman has done, for the world, and ask whether it’s likely to change its behaviour after any one setback. After 75 years of war, occupation, and political interference – installing dictators, undermining local political movements, torturing enemies, and assisting in the arrest of opposition leaders – the US military-industrial complex doesn’t seem to know how to stop.

This anthology explores the human cost of these many interventions onto foreign soil, with stories by writers from that soil – covering everything from torture in Abu Ghraib, to coups and counterrevolutionary wars in Latin America, to all-out invasions in the Middle and Far East. Alongside testimonies from expert historians and ground-breaking journalists, these stories present a history that too many of us in the West simply pretend never happened.

Payam Nasser and Olmo Golz on the 1953 IRANIAN COUP
Fiston Mwanza Mujila and Emmanuel Gerard on the ASSASSINATION OF PATRICE LUMUMBA
Ahmel Echevarría Peré and Felix Julio Alfonso Lopez on the BAY OF PIGS
Lidudumalingani and James Sanders on the ARREST OF NELSON MANDELA
Paige Cooper and David Harper on MKULTRA and THE MONTREAL EXPERIMENTS
Kim Thúy and Xuan Phuong on the VIETNAM WAR
Hüseyin Karabey and Ertugrul Kurkcu on Turkey’s COUP BY MEMORANDUM
Lina Meruane and Francisco Dominguez on PLAN ZETA and THE CHILEAN COUP
Gianfranco Bettin and Maurizio Dianese on OPERATION GLADIO in ITALY
Carol and Julio Zardetto on GUATEMALA’S ‘SCORCHED EARTH’
Jacob Ross and Brian Meeks on the INVASION OF GRENADA
Gioconda Belli and Victor Figueroa Clark on NICARAGUA’S SANDINISTAS
Wilfredo M. Amaya and Raymond Bonner on EL SALVADOR’S CIVIL WAR
Gabriel Ángel and Daniel Kovalik on COLOMBIA’S CIVIL WAR
Ahmet Halûk Ünal on life in Kurdistan in the year 1999.
Hassan Blasim and Chris Hedges on ABU GHRAIB PRISON
Talal Abu Sharwish and Iyad S. S. Abujaber on GAZA’S CIVIL WAR
Fariba Nawa oand Neil Faulkner n the US in AFGHANISTAN
Najwa Bin Shatwan and Matteo Capasso on the REMOVAL OF GADDAFI

Translations by: Orsola Casagrande, Sara Khalili, J.Bret Maney, Adam Feinstein, Julio Barrios Zardetto, Diep Lien Nguyen, Mustafa Gündoğdu, Megan McDowell, Nicholas Glastonbury, Jonathan Wright, Basma Ghalayini and Sawad Hussain.

Part of Comma's History-into-Fiction series.

Join us for the virtual launch event with Housmans Bookshop on 26th October. 

See Resist(ance): a Collective Read event HERE


As featured in The Bookseller.

"I strongly recommend this book." – Counterpunch Magazine

"A string of gems of an unremitting quality, which both sparkle and illuminate." – Counterfire

"There are some books that are absolutely impossible not to admire, and The American Way is one of them." – Dawn

"Challenging, engaging, and at times deeply unsettling" – The Irish Times

"An innovative fictional exploration of some of the well-known and lesser-known episodes of US aggression around the world." - Andrew Blackman

Read an excerpt from 'The Lumumba Business' by Fiston Mwanza Mujila at The Johannesburg Review of Books

Read David Harper on his afterword to Paige Cooper's story in The Psychologist.

Read contributor Carol Zardetto on the history of violence against women in Guatemala and the USA's complicity for The Comma Press Blog.

Watch the online launch of The American Way with Bina Shah and Fariba Nawa at Housmans Bookshop's YouTube channel

Co-editor Ra Page said: "One of the memes that circulated round the Arab world when Biden was declared the winner of the US election in November was a cartoon of people cheering at a US drone dropping bombs on them, with the caption 'At least we're being bombed by a diverse, politically correct administration!' As America struggles to return to some level of political normality, now is a good moment to remind ourselves what 'normality' has meant for so many decades, to countries the US didn't look kindly on.